Back Button Focus for Photographers:
Many photographers struggle with accurate focus, resulting in images not being consistently sharp. This is why a great deal of images are being deleted during the culling process. If this is happening to you, I am about to give you some hard-earned advice that will help you achieve accurate focus every.single.time!
I’ve been using back button focusing (BBF) for a few months now, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much it has impacted my work as a whole. No more out of focus images, but instead, tack sharp photographs. How does this button work, you may ask? It’s quite simple, actually. You know that “AF-ON” button on the back of the camera (for Nikon users)? It can be used to lock in the focus, while the shutter button will only be used to snap the picture. You might think that sounds too complicated, but it’s actually not.
As a wedding photographer, think about that time when the bride walks down the aisle and you have to focus and refocus with every single image you take, by pressing the shutter half way at first, then pressing it all the way down, to freeze the motion. Since your subject is moving between the time you are pressing the shutter half way to focus, and the time you actually take the picture, your final image might turn out blurry and unclear. With back button focusing, you press the “AF-ON” button to lock the focus, then you let go and shoot away. If your subject is moving, the back button will allow you to track your subject and still get consistent focus. It’s a win-win every time!
Here are the main reasons why I switched to back button focus:
1) I don’t have to refocus every time I let go of the shutter
2) I get sharper images all the time
3) It’s a time-saver
Nikon users, here is how you can set up your back button focus:
- Go to your custom settings menu
- Select “Autofocus” (a)
- Go down to “AF activation” (a4 on my D810)
- Select “AF-ON only”
- Use the “AF-ON” button on the back of the camera to focus
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